One of my favourite food magazines is Delicious Magazine. I have been subscribing to it for years and every month when I see it waiting for me on my doorstep, I can’t wait to put the kettle on and settle down to salivate over the contents. Each month its packed with fantastic recipes and ideas, it’s like getting a recipe book delivered to me and it only costs £28 for the year!

Whilst I was reading it the other day and marking the recipes I really wanted to try, I noticed their feature on the London-based Spanish chef José Pizarro who has just launched his latest book, Spanish Flavours. A few of his recipes from the book were featured and one of them…Roasted red pepper and anchovy salad on roast garlic toasts, caught my eye. Its a fairly simple recipe and one I’ve made before but as I was having friends round for dinner on Sunday, I thought I’d make it for a starter.

This recipe serves 4 for a light lunch but if you want to serve it as a starter, I think it could stretch to 6 or 8 portions.

2 large bulbs of garlic, unpeeled, plus 1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
4 fresh thyme sprigs
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 lerge red pepper
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
Rustic-style white bread, cut into slices about 1cm thick.
Good quality anchovy fillets in olive oil

Reheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/400°F/gas 6.

Remove the papery skin from the bulbs of garlic then slice off the top of each bulb to expose the cloves.

Tear off a large square of foil and place the bulbs of garlic into the centre, add 2 sprigs of thyme then drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt.

Wrap securely in the foil and place on a roasting tin, along with the peppers.

The roast on the top shelf for approximately 25 minutes, turning the peppers once or twice, until the pepper skins have blackened in places. (In my oven, it actually took closer to 40-45 minutes).

Remove the peppers, drop them into a plastic bag and leave until cool enough to handle.

Return the garlic parcels to roast for a further 30 minutes, or until the cloves feel very soft when pressed.

Meanwhile, slit open the peppers, working over a bowl so you catch all the juices, then remove and discard the stalks, seeds and skin.

Tear the flesh into 1cm wide strips and add to the bowl of juices (you may need to strain the juice into a bowl if it is full of seeds) with the chopped garlic clove, vinegar, remaining thyme sprigs and remaining olive oil. Stir together.

Remove the garlic parcels from the oven and set aside. Toast the bread, unwrap the garlic and squeeze out the purée from each clove, then spread it onto the toast while both are still hot.

Sprinkle with a few sea salt flakes and black pepper. Season the peppers with a little salt to taste and place on top of the toast.

It is now ready to serve!

This is a delicious dish. So fresh and bursting with flavour, its like Summer in your mouth! I was immediately transported to Spain, even though it was cold and wet outside. I would of course have preferred to be sitting in the sun whilst I was devouring it.

I love making this dish but next time, if I‘m doing it as a starter, I would serve it on smaller slices of toast as it is actually quite filling. I’d almost half the size. The portion I served would have been perfect for a lunch if served with a green salad, but a tad too large considering how much more food I had for my guests following this starter!

Also, I would blacken my peppers a bit more. Unfortunately I have a very old oven which is on its last legs and takes a lot longer to do anything, and I was running out of time.

José actually recommends garnishing each slice with 2 anchovy fillets but my friends and I don’t like anchovies so I left them off. However, apparently the teaming of the sweet roasted red peppers with the salty anchovies works a treat…if you like anchovies of course!

TIP: You can store any leftover peppers and sauce in the fridge for up to a week. Toss through some pasta or add to salads.

TIP: You can of course make this dish much faster if you buy roasted red peppers in a jar from the supermarket or deli. You can get them everywhere now. Just tear the peppers into strips and top with the chopped garlic, vinegar, thyme and olive oil then stir together.

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